“If you love somebody, set them free” sang Sting in 1985. Now, ‘love’ might be too strong an emotion to accurately describe how CIOs feel about the average technology user on their network; but CIOs are today facing the inevitable: the user has to be set free in order for the organization to achieve its goals of using Digital Business and transformation to accelerate the delivery and scope of new services and products.
No longer is the CIO primarily responsible for the delivery of world-class IT solutions. Well, perhaps that’s not entirely true. Many still are responsible for that, but it’s no longer what defines a successful CIO.
As the real technology spending power shifts from the CIO’s reporting line to individual business units and managers spread across the organization, the CIO is facing a moment of realization: that their job is no longer about building and delivering technology, but rather influencing the purchase of multiple technologies while simultaneously nurturing innovation and talent across the enterprise.
So, it’s really no surprise that a whopping 95 percent of the 3,160 CIOs that Gartner surveyed across 98 countries expect their job to change in the coming months and years (the 2018 Gartner CIO Agenda Survey gathered data from a record number of 3,160 CIO respondents in 98 countries and all major industries, representing approximately $13 trillion in revenue/public sector budgets and $277 billion in IT spending).
According to the study, at least 84 percent of top CIOs surveyed have responsibility for areas of the business outside traditional IT. The most common are innovation and transformation. Which makes a lot of sense. After all, it’s difficult to think of an industry today that isn’t fundamentally based on the application of technology. And most innovation and transformation has at least some reliance on technology inbuilt.
Take Jaguar Land Rover as an example. It has publicly stated that it wants to build one million cars a year by 2020, up from just under 500,000 in 2015. Production line capacity is just part of the challenge it faces (although there’s no shortage of technology and innovation there, either). To realize its goals, it needs to design and bring to market new models, new power plants, new ‘connected’ experiences for owners and more. And it has realized that technology is as much the foundation for nurturing that innovation as organizational culture. In fact, technology can fundamentally empower the desired culture of innovation.
And so the Jaguar Land Rover CIO, Simon Bolton, and his team are at much at the forefront of driving (excuse the pun) the company’s push for one million cars produced in 2020 as any of the designers or production line workers.
It’s easy to see why CIOs are increasingly developing a two-strand approach to their roles: on the one hand prioritizing areas like Cyber Security, keeping the organization safe from the increasing threat before inside the organization and without. And on the other hand, embracing new technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT) that can drive innovation and differentiation for their organizations.
In many cases, it won’t be “IT” that drives the adoption of these new technologies. The business units themselves will often be better placed to identify the use cases and innovation that will deliver value to their customers. Unburdened with any baggage of “how things have been done before”, they will be more free-thinking and willing to employ new technologies that might normally have their IT colleagues sucking teeth.
And this is the exciting new job that the CIO needs to embrace. How to continue to build out a successful IT function that works hand-in-hand with business units to achieve the organization’s overall goals. Gartner notes, “Some CIOs favor a separate digital team while others make digitalization part of the day job of IT and the enterprise. However, 71 percent of the top performers have a separate digital team to help them scale their digitalization efforts. “The CIO needs to change his or her self-perception from the ‘manufacturer’ of IT services to the ‘buyer’, with success not measured in the build and delivery of systems, but the tangible outcomes that integrated technologies deliver to their organizations.
And the key to achieving this shift in focus and role? Well, you won’t be surprised to hear that my colleagues and I at Snow believe that visibility of technology consumption in all its forms is key to putting the CIO in the position of establishing and directing influence in the organization’s increasing technology spend.
To learn how Snow can help you gain visibility over technology consumption across your organization, why not take a 20-minute executive briefing with me or one of our experts?